Mary J. Blige gave an inspiring speech for her Icon Award at the 2017 Billboard‘s Women in Music event, reminding us all why she’s the Queen of Hip Hop Soul.
“To have been around for so long and still be relevant is truly a gift from God,” she said Thursday (Nov. 30). “This Icon Award is a huge responsibility because “icon” means to look up to something or someone. When people look up to me, I want people to see my life and understand that if I can make through everything I’ve made it through and still making it through, you can too.”
Blige’s year has been filled with wins like the release of her 13th album Strength of a Woman and her acclaimed performance in Mudbound. Her divorce to former manager Kendu Issacs may have made headlines, but the icon rose above the chatter.
Blige ended her speech with a reminder to all women to keep pushing, no matter what challenges are thrown in your path.
“This is not been an easy it’s actually been hell,” she shared. “I’ve been fighting for my life since I was 5 years old. But I’m here, and I’m going to keep fighting for every woman who doesn’t know how to get out. I’m out here fighting for you. My responsibility is to continue to love myself and not be hard on myself and be by myself if I need to.”
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Congrats to @SelenaGomez, @Camila_Cabello, @Kelly_Clarkson, @MaryjBlige, @GraceVanderWaal & more! https://t.co/zJa8ZUi39g
— billboard (@billboard) December 1, 2017